Ag expert to present research on peppers

Wesley Kline, agricultural and resource management agent with Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Cumberland County, will share the results of years of pepper trial research with Rutgers Master Gardeners of Cumberland County at the group’s monthly program and business meeting.

Read the entire article at The Daily Journal.com »

100 Years of Cooperative Extension: Rutgers Ag Engineering Specialist William Roberts’ Innovation is National Landmark

William Roberts and his wife Dottie at the dedication of the first air inflated double polyethylene greenhouse on Cook campus as a historical national landmark.

William Roberts and wife Dottie at the dedication of the first air-inflated, double-polyethylene greenhouse on the Cook Campus as a historical national landmark.

Sometimes innovation strikes at the most unlikely of times and in the most unlikely of places. While researchers can labor for months at their research facilities, a breakthrough may come while they’re tinkering at home in their garage or basement. Such was the case for Rutgers Cooperative Extension specialist William Roberts when he used an aquarium air pump to separate two layers of plastic film in a model greenhouse he was building in his basement on Christmas Day in 1964. As innocuous as it may seem, what Roberts did was actually an innovation that would one day, once developed for commercial application, revolutionize the use of greenhouses worldwide and be a boon to the agricultural industry.

Greenhouses, once regarded as a luxury for the rich, have been in use for centuries. The traditional glass structures allowed for a controlled environment to protect plants from cold or heat, and for the cultivation of exotic plants. It wasn’t until the 1960s, when polyethylene film became available in wide sheets ideal for industrial applications, that the construction of greenhouses became economical, leading to widespread agricultural use. [Read more...]

Mercer 4-H Member Speaks at USDA Borlaug Symposium

Renee Stillwell with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack at the Borlaug Symposium

Renee Stillwell, Mercer County 4-H member, with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack at the 2014 Borlaug Symposium

Renee Stillwell, Mercer County 4-H member, was invited by the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture to be one of a handful of youth to speak at the USDA symposium commemorating the 100-year anniversary of the birth of plant biologist and humanitarian Norman Borlaug, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for a lifetime of work to feed a hungry world. [Read more...]

PortaScience team travels to Rwanda to educate dairy farmers on milk quality

Michael Gavin, president of PortaScience, Inc., recently returned from Rwanda where he participated in the educational segment of a program funded by a grant from Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation to commercialize a milk quality test for East African small farms…David L. Lee, professor from the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, the research and outreach arm of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and Nathaniel F. Makoni, Ph.D., of the African Breeders Services, Total Cattle Management Ltd. (ABS TCM), joined Gavin in providing educational resources to Rwandan dairy farmers.

Read the entire article at Wisconsin State Farmer »

Rutgers Alumna Finds Thousands of Creepy Crawlies Live in our Homes

marmorated stink bug isolated on whiteNancy Brill earned a bachelor’s degree in natural resource management from Rutgers in 2000. After completing a master’s degree in horticulture at North Carolina State University (NCSU), she returned to Rutgers as a field researcher in vegetable pathology at Rutgers Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Upper Deerfield, NJ. Brill, who later earned a Ph.D. in Entomology at NCSU, conducted a  study as a postdoc that sought to reveal the arthropods that can be found in our homes. The result? Over 10,000 specimens were collected from just 50 houses. The New York Times published Brill’s inside peek into just what kind of creepy crawlies lurk inside our homes.

Note: While she conducted field research at Rutgers, she found time to publish an essay spilling the dirt on being a woman working in agriculture, which was published in Newsweek in 2007. Brill is currently an Agronomic Service Representative at Syngenta Crop Protection.